The day the locksmith came – 15 May 2019

I was up early as you can imagine and even started fiddling around with the lock again, but had breakfast before I phoned for a locksmith. With no idea who was good, who was bad, well there was one obvious bad one. The only review he had on Google was one star and one word “Cowboy”. I avoided him and went for one on Yell. The bloke said he’d be out between 10 and 10.30 in the morning. He was as good as his word and he had the door opened in TEN SECONDS!! I kid you not.  Unfortunately, that was only half the story. The locking mechanism was broken and needed to be replaced. That he did with good speed and good humour. Paid him and he was off to Bellshill to fix a garage door that wouldn’t lock. I’d recommend him again to anyone.

That left us just enough time for lunch and to drive in to Glasgow for some Jive, some Quickstep, a bit of Cha-Cha and to finish off, a wee Waltz. Michael showed us the next part of our Jive routine and we also had a go at New Yorkers in Cha-Cha and a bit of the next stage in Quickstep. He really does fly through the routines.

Home and after dinner Scamp drove us to the STUC for Intermediate Salsa which was fun and Beginners Salsa which was not. Two girls, one slightly the worse for wear and one three sheets to the wind kind of spoiled the class. Yes, salsa is meant to be fun, but not to the extent that you giggle all the way through the class. That’s called Steamin’.

PoD was a hastily shot photo of the first flowering Aquilegia. Must do better. Sketch topic today was A Tree. I chose Chestnut and the result is here. It started out well, but I ran out of time. A common complaint on a Wednesday.

Tomorrow? I don’t have a clue. Today was hot. Temperature according to the car was max 25ºc and I could believe it. Tomorrow is to be cooler and not as sunny.

Beer is the answer, now what was the question? – 30 April 2019

A day in town with the guys and being a good Samaritan.

Scamp offered me a run to the train station to have a 10min trip into Glasgow, rather than the 45min trip the X3 forces on me. I was meeting the Auld Guys for a few beers, some adult conversation and a cheap lunch. Before that I had some time to spare, so I went for a look in JL. Where I saw a bloke attempting to buy a camera for his daughter. She wanted one with a viewfinder, but the one he had his eye on didn’t have one. The assistant told him that nothing in that price range had viewfinders. She went to get the keys to the cabinet to show him some considerably more expensive ones, that’s when the Good Samaritan butted in. I pointed to a Teazer (TZ70) which was much closer to his price range than the £650 Sony the assistant was touting and told them that it had a viewfinder. Even better I had my Teazer in my pocket to show him. He seemed happy that it had a viewfinder and gave it over to his daughter so that she could try it. She said it was just what she was looking for. By then the assistant had returned and the man pointed at the Teazer in the case and said that “This Gentleman” (that’s me by the way) “says that one has a viewfinder”. The assistant agreed that the Lumix was a good make and confirmed that it did indeed have a viewfinder. I left them to test it out for themselves. I hate to see people being given that kind of sales pitch. A Gentleman and a Good Samaritan and it wasn’t even 11.30am!

Met up with the other three in the Horse Shoe Bar. It looked like a pensioners day out today. Not one person under the age of 60 drinking in that bar. Val and Jack couldn’t make it. Jim B couldn’t come today for some undisclosed reason. Had a good gossip about school stuff we don’t have to worry about anymore, then went upstairs for lunch. Three courses for a fiver! That’s a cheap lunch. After that it was home time.

Fred and I got the train home and Scamp very kindly dropped Fred off before we went home too. A good day out.  Scamp had managed to get the grass cut while I was away and just in time too, because when we were going home it started to drizzle.  It’s good for the garden!

Today’s PoD was taken from the top of Buchanan Street in the town.

Tomorrow it’s dancing again. Hopefully better than last week.

A well filled day – 23 April 2019

Driving to Falkirk, and back, lunch out (for some), coffee (for some), broken website – now repaired. Just your usual Tuesday.

Very warm during the night, but the temperature was dropping all morning and, when we got out of the car in Falkirk, I was glad I had worn my fleece. Dropped my ring off in the jeweller’s to have it repaired after having it cut from my finger back in March. We will be reunited on Thursday, hopefully. Went to Morrison’s while we were there to buy muesli, hand wash and milk. That, with a few other things, came to just over £70. That’s the way the money goes.

When we came home, Scamp just had time to change before she went out for lunch with her pal Mags. I had an hour to rearrange the mess in the art room before I too went out. No lunch for me just coffee and setting the world to rights with Fred and Val.

By the time I got home, Scamp was too and there was just enough of the day left to wander over to St Mo’s to get some photos. PoD went to a branch with what looks like Wild Cherry blossom. The competitor for the PoD was this shot of a new memorial seat in St Mo’s park. The name on it is Deone, who I think is Deone MacRae who died of cancer in 2013 aged 15. The family put a memorial bench beside Broadwood Loch, but some people didn’t like it and burned it to ashes. You really wonder about the mentality of some people. The new butterfly seat is cut and welded from 6mm steel. I don’t think that will be quite so easy to burn.

After dinner which was a joint effort at a paella, I noticed all the email from the new server was offline, and so was my site. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it to clear itself. I tried a website checker and it showed the site as open. Asked Hazy to check and she got access. Eventually used the chat facility on the new server’s webpage and after some checking on their side I was told that my IP address had been blocked after too many attempts to log in to an email address using different passwords. Actually it was me who was attempting to log in and get Mac Mail to accept the new password. Good to know they are on the ball, but will have to be more careful in future when changing passwords.

That was my busy day. Tomorrow will be equally busy, I’m sure. Hoping to go dancing in the afternoon and maybe in the evening too. The weather fairies say it’s going to get colder and wetter. Oh what fun. Summer’s over for another year perhaps.

Embra – 20 April 2019

We’d said we’d go to Embra and we did.

Set off early and did our usual walk up from Haymarket station to Nero on Lothian Road then from there through the farmers market where I got a piece of Hogget Leg Steak and Scamp got a chunk of Focaccia. I also grabbed a PoD of the folk sitting in the sun.

From there we walked up to the Grassmarket and Scamp bought a wee bottle of Elderberry liqueur, although the rum liqueur they were selling tasted very nice. They didn’t have wee bottles of it, unfortunately, only big bottles. The place was mobbed. In fact Embra in general was mobbed. It was a beautiful day. Warm sunshine and very little wind which is strange for Embra because it quite often is the Windy City. I was beginning to regret wearing my leather jacket AND a jersey. One had to go, in fact, eventually both had to go.

We couldn’t decide where to go for lunch, so we headed for Princes Street Gardens via M&S where I went to get some fresh fruit while Scamp searched for the trousers she’s been looking for for the last week or so. I got the fruit, but Scamp didn’t find the trousers she wanted. However she did find a sun hat that looked good, so after some swithering about a colour, she opted for the plain white one.

We sat in the gardens for a while eating the fruit and people watching, but decided eventually that it was far too busy in Embra and we should just head for home. Went for the 2pm train and were there in plenty of time. Sat waiting for what seemed a long time when a message came over the tannoy that with apologies, the train was cancelled. There was nothing to do but walk back to the concourse and wait for the next train which was in half an hour. Then Scamp noticed that it too was cancelled. Apparently due to a signalling fault. She suggested we get the 2.15 train which wouldn’t stop at Croy, but we could go straight to Glasgow and get another train back. After all the ticket did say “Valid via any permitted route”, so we could have gone via Inverness if we’d fancied, but we didn’t, we just wanted to get home now. Got the 2.15 which did take us all the way to Glasgow and then got the Stirling train back to Croy. A journey that should have taken us 40mins had taken 2 hours. Strangely, the 2.15 train travelled exactly the same route as the one that was cancelled because of a signalling fault. Did they magically repair the fault for the 2.15 train to pass, but knew that it would be broken again when the 2.30 train was due to leave? Maybe they should just be more honest and say “Due to staff not being available because it was such a nice day”. Anyway, we got home.

Sat in the garden and scoffed a bottle of wine that had been in the fridge since Christmas. It would be getting near it’s sell-by date anyway!

Tomorrow we may go dancing in the Record Factory.

Dancing without Numpties – 17 April 2019

Drove in to Glasgow to go dancing. Only real dancers there today.

I think there must have been a sign outside Blackfriars that read “No Numpties”. There were only five of us dancers there and all of us wanted to dance, and learn. Nobody giggled and shouted out “Look at me, I’m stupid”. Nobody stopped in the middle of the floor to have an argument. All of us were dancing, getting things wrong occasionally, but then working to put things right. What a difference it made. It made the lessons a pleasure, not a chore and we got further than we did last week when the Numpties where there. Unfortunately, somebody will take that useful sign down next week and it will be back to normal again.

In the afternoon when we got back, I ordered some coffee from the Bean Shop over the phone so I could get some Cuban Tarquino which you can only order over the phone because the website isn’t allowed to list if for a ridiculous reason that’s something to do with PayPal. After that, I went for a drive, mainly to get petrol to fill the Juke’s thimble sized tank, but also to grab a PoD which turned out to be a landscape shot across St Mo’s pond. It looked lovely and still on a calm day.

Drove through terrible traffic again to get to Salsa and quite enjoyed both classes, but I get the feeling we’re being taken for granted. Maybe I’m wrong, but it feels like we aren’t needed and, lets face it, we don’t learn much on a Wednesday night. I think we should take the occasional night off. We don’t pay for the classes, but we pay for the petrol to drive there and we pay for parking and get no thanks for it from anyone at AdS. It would be good for Jamie G to say thanks, just once in a while.

Tomorrow we may go in to Glasgow on the bus and try to have a look at the Leonardo exhibition.

Not such a bright day – 16 April 2019

Today was Chris’s dad’s funeral. JIC had flown up specially for it last night.

He might have come up for the funeral, but before that JIC had to take a conference call with California and China. That’s just the kind of circles he moves in these days. Half past eight this morning and he was on Skype, doing work.

The funeral went well, I suppose. Well, as good as these things get. This was the first Humanist funeral I’d been to. I don’t confess to be a Christian. I suppose the closest I can get to religion is Buddhism, but even elements of that don’t work for me. I didn’t like the delivery of the woman who took the ceremony. Maybe she was new to it, but her delivery was too fast, too rushed with pauses that were too long and sometimes in the wrong places. It didn’t have the solemnity of a Church of Scotland funeral, but the delivery there has a style all of its own too and its not a pleasant one either. I’d guess it’s only someone who knew the person who has died who can really speak about them, from the heart, and that’s what the people listening want to hear.

We went to the ‘tea’ afterwards and met a few folk we knew. I liked the way Andy, JIC and Chris shared memories of Chris’s dad. That’s more like what folk do at a traditional ‘tea’ after a funeral. They remember the good bits in a person’s life and forgive the bad bits.

In the afternoon we went for a late lunch with JIC before he got the flight home. Unfortunately time seemed to slip away and the next thing I knew it was 5pm, we should have been on our way by then and we still hadn’t had our pudding. Eventually we got served and left for the drive into Glasgow. CITRAC was displaying its usual useless nonsense. “Nineteen minutes to the airport” it said. Actually it took nearly forty five minutes through what is euphemistically called ‘Rush Hour’, except nobody was rushing. Finally dropped him off at the airport to go through security. We turned round and started to drive home when Scamp suggested we go for a coffee at Braehead. That gave just enough time for the congestion to decrease and allow us to drive at a fairly steady pace back home through the rain. The plants need the rain Scamp said. She’s probably right.

Today’s PoD was made possible by that rain on the back bedroom window. I liked it. I called it “Through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes” lyrics from The Final Cut by Roger Waters. Seemed somehow fitting.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go dancing. Let’s hope it’s a happier day than today.

Another lazy day – 14 April 2019

Nobody seemed to want to go out today. I don’t think a single car moved from the car park outside the house.

We decided to follow the crowd for once and refuse to go anywhere. Dinner today was sorted. Fish for Scamp and Lamb Shank for me, so we didn’t have to go and attempt to buy Tesco. Neither of us had any pressing engagements to complete. We’d watched a boring Chinese F1 GP and after lunch Scamp was waiting for the bridal party from our new next door neighbours to parade to the waiting car. It may have been a lazy morning for us, but with hairdressers, beautician, photographer and chauffeur all visiting, it must have been that old ‘80s band Crowded House for them. Once they had left for the ceremony, we settled down to … do nothing.

Eventually I was forced to get up and make some bread. It’s ages since I’ve hand kneaded bread dough. You’d be surprised at how many steps it adds to you Fitbit! Left the bread to do its first prove and put my lamb shank in the slow cooker (we’re really getting our money’s worth from it this weather).

With the bread successfully proved, I gave it another quick kneading for good luck (and more steps) and got ready to go out and get some photos. Took the Nikon with me for a change, because it hasn’t been out in a long while and it gets jealous of the Olys and we can’t have that. Fed the birds on stale bread and leftover flatbread from yesterday’s dinner. They didn’t seem to mind either and both sets of stodge and it was soon gone. Today’s PoD is of a Haw. Fruit of the Hawthorn tree.

Came home, had dinner with more pakora than we could eat as a starter, so the rest is waiting in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Lamb shank was a bit fatty, but tasted good in its mint marinade from the butcher. Scamp had a slice of lightly smoked salmon and of course we both had potatoes. Sorry JIC.

Spoke to JIC at night and made plans for the next two days.

Tomorrow will be a Gems day so I will go out. Maybe cycling if it’s warm and sunny shiny. Maybe painting if it’s dull and cold like today.

Tesco, Coots and Curry – 13 April 2019

Some days are filled with surprises and action. Today wasn’t one of those.

Today we went to Tesco to get the makings of tonight’s dinner. I fancied making another slow cooker curry, a vegetarian one for a change. That was one of the highlights of the day.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk over St Mo’s.  In the sunshine it was lovely and warm, but the wind was decidedly cold, coming from the Baltic the weather fairies say and I believe them. Today’s PoD was another shot of a coot sitting on its nest of twigs on the floating pontoon of horsetails. I walked on down to the BP garage to get some sparkling water to give a lift to the pakora I was planning on making for a starter for the dinner. Found a wee boy, maybe about 12yrs being questioned by a couple of women. He looked completely out of it and to start with I thought he’d been in a fight or had been climbing trees and had fallen, but it turned out he’d had a few sherbets and was just the far side of sober, or so they suspected. He did look a funny colour and they were looking after him and giving him sips of water while his mum was contacted. Me? I’d have been a bit more circumspect about getting involved. These days it’s a minefield being a good Samaritan.

In the evening I sorted out the last of the email realignment and I think I now have a fully functioning website on a new server. This week I intend to back up the files from the old server before I clear out the server, and probably also back up the files from the new one too – Belts & Braces.
I really can’t thank Hazy enough for the research she’s done for me, not only searching out the best hosting company to go with, but also finding answers and help pages to keep me on the right lines, and then checking that her dad had pressed the right buttons in the right order and not broken anything. Couldn’t have done it without you love. You are a real gem.

The curry was a hit and a miss. Scamp didn’t like it, but I did. Such a pity, but the cauliflower pakora was a great hit with Scamp. I wasn’t so keen on it. Like I say, Hit and a Miss.

That was about it for today. Went to bed early because I hadn’t been sleeping well these last few days, so the blog was posted on Sunday!

A day in the toon … in the rain – 6 April 2019

Today dawned cool and grey. A perfect day to go in to the toon on the bus.

We just missed the ten past ten bus which meant we had another half hour to wait for the next X3. We decided it would be quicker to walk over to Condorrat and get a faster one, a real express bus. Unfortunately, we got there at about 11.15 and the next bus wasn’t until 11.38. Actually, I’ll rephrase that, the next three buses weren’t due until 11.38. Yup, you wait for 20 minutes and three buses come at the same time. That’s good scheduling for you. Thankfully, the fastest one came first, well that’s usually the case isn’t it? 😉

When we get the bus in to Glasgow we usually just walk through JL as an quick way into the Buchanan Galleries (After a trip to the second floor ‘toy shop’). Not so today. There was a sign on the shutters saying the doors were ‘being maintained’ in other words, ‘broke’. We traipsed with a whole load of others from the bus round and through the side entrance where a gaggle of women just stood there, one of them shouting that she’d “I’ve completely lost my bearings”. Not only your bearings Mrs, I think your big end’s gone as well. I went to have a look at the toys, but JL weren’t giving anything away cheap. They never do, but it’s always a good idea to look anyway, just in case. Walked through the Gallery and decided it was nearly lunch time and we’d dine Italian at Sarti’s today. Food was good, wine even better, then we went for a walk down the town. Bumped into one of our ‘expert girls’ from Jive class in the Argyle Arcade. Apparently she works there.

While I went to Millers looking for some replacement pens, Scamp disappeared on an undisclosed expedition to find some secret thing. I found the pens in Millers which is just a shadow of its former glory as THE art shop in Glasgow. You used to be able to get everything from a needle to an anchor, art-wise in the original shop in Queen Street. Now it’s owned by an Embra mob and recently has lost its upper floor due to the expiry of the lease. Today there was a queue. The two men who were serving were discussing with one customer the best place to go for paintings and prints of Glasgow while more and more people joined the queue. Eventually I got fed up and put the pens back and left. No wonder it’s going downhill. The secret, guys, is to be friendly, but also to sell things. That’s what shops do.

Met up with Scamp fresh from her expedition into the hinterland of Argyle Street. I listened to a couple of folk busking, then the rain came on and after a quick confab, they changed their song to “Raindrops keep falling on my head”. I liked their quick thinking, got a photo and dropped some money in their tin. The photo got PoD.

Walked back up the hill and got the bus home. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long for this one.

Tomorrow we’re out early to drop a prezzy off at Shona’s then we’ve a curry to make and later we’re hoping to do a bit of dancing.

Another teacher breaks out – 29 March 2019

Didn’t do very much today.

Some days are like that. Scamp went out shopping for essentials at Tesco. I stayed in and re-lived the holiday through the medium of blog writing.

My Fitbit is not at all well. The date was stuck at 27th March and nothing I could do would shift it. I tried doing a few resets with no success, and last night I let it die completely. I tried again to plug it in and reset it from zero, but all I got was a mangled display on the screen. I fear it may be dead, well, that’s not entirely correct. It still works internally, it just doesn’t have any way of displaying that work. It still vibrates to tell me to move and it still syncs to the iPhone. It just displays scrambled egg on the screen. Apparently it’s a common fault and is well documented on the InterWeb.

I went out at night to a retiral evening for Morag Pearson the ex-PT Art at Cumby High. Met Duncan and John for a beer in the Wetherspoon’s in Sausage Roll Street and had a pint of the excellent Punk IPA. The meal was a curry in Kama Sutra, just along the road. Lots of old faces from the old guard. Lots of young fresh looking faces of the youngsters, some of whom would eventually become the old guard in about forty years time. Talked to lots of folk I knew and liked and a few whom I disliked or detested. Thankfully I could walk away from the latter to find more of the former to compare stories with. It was a good night.

Walked down Sausage Roll Street with John before we went our separate ways him for the train home, me for the bus. Unfortunately, as I got to the bus station I just saw the X3 disappear round the corner. As I’d have to wait in the rain for another hour for the next one I phoned a taxi instead and had a pleasant run home talking to the driver.

Nice to see another teacher get out of the Cumbernauld Academy hell hole and into the light. Shame to see that some are still stuck in this nepotistic environment. Not conducive to good learning and no good for teachers or pupils. Glad I’m out.

Today’s PoD is of the leaves on the Poinsettia Scamp’s been tending since before Christmas.

Tomorrow, maybe a curry in Hamilton. Another curry!